For Peter, on Dark Illusions and Giddy Phantoms by Irene Zimmerman

Dear Peter,

sometimes, when I am sitting on the subway
or walking past an ugly park
or eating eggs while
I wait to move my laundry to the dryer
I wonder why it is that
I only seem to write when there is

spheres of energy at war with each other inside me
but that is also not true
another conflict that
is an illusion
as much as everything else, perspective gained

What is true
is that there seems to be nothing to write about today
I was on the subway
I was in a building
I talked to strangers about market trends in
Brooklyn and Queens
none of this is sad, there is no
harrowing meaninglessness to my life
more so even
since we sat in the garden while
I listened to your story about Paris and keys and rooftops
and a comedy of errors

What is true
is that I have returned to a deep and peaceful plain-ness
that I can only ruin with foolishness or boredom
–the classic question, again:
and aren’t they the same?–
that can only be destroyed by my deranged belief that
by submitting completely to darkness
by confronting the worst we imagine in ourselves
can we find truth or be healed

the weight of the world, an illusion
as much as everything else, perspective gained
this is why old men and women chuckle at Youth
at inner city kids living and dying by each other’s
slight of hand on the G train
this is why I find myself unable to
stop singing

What is true
in your living room, snickering over the
thought that Andy might come upstairs and catch me lounging
in my underwear and become jealous
what is true
getting rude emails from coworkers
telling me things I already know
what is true
unconsciously avoiding the pool
so I can regroup before
running into Fernando again

is that love is acceptance
and life is good
breath joy like a giddy phantom
lurking in haphazard clown shoes
ready to jump out and make club soda
rain from the sky

and thanks
as always
for the cheap wine

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